Washington, D.C. – February 10, 2020 – With a brilliant blend of poetry and prose, A Mosaic of Madness, the first book in a trilogy, takes readers into the tormented minds and lives of the mentally ill. This richly expressive book chronicles the story of two Black men and one Black woman. It tells of their struggles not only with mental illness but also with racism and ignorance where there should have been understanding, support, and patience.
Part of the inspiration for A Mosaic of Madness comes from the challenges Black Americans face when it comes to acknowledging and treating mental illness. About 20 percent of adults in the U.S. face mental health challenges. And according to the Health and Human Service Office of Minority Health, Black Americans are 10 percent more likely than the general population to experience psychological distress, yet only 30 percent receive treatment each year. Also, like many minority communities, Black Americans are more likely to face additional socioeconomic challenges to treatment, including exclusion from educational and healthcare resources.
Black Americans are also less likely to seek treatment for mental health conditions due to misinformation or a lack of information; lack of access to mental health services; inequality of care; distrust of healthcare treatments or professionals; healthcare professionals’ misunderstanding of Black culture; and the stigma surrounding mental illness. While family, community, and churches are great sources of strength and support, they are often insufficient for treating serious mental illness. Families of those suffering from mental illness are also less likely to receive professional support.
The combination of storytelling and illustrations in A Mosaic of Madness mirrors the author’s own experience with synesthesia and provides a much-needed resource for mental health workers and the families of those struggling with mental illness.
Sharon is a songwriter, librarian, screenwriter, producer, and educator with expertise in the communications, film, and public administration industries. She has served on many mental health panels for students conducting research for their Senior Project on “Breaking the Stigma of Seeking Help for Mental Illness in the Black Community.” She has appeared on Urban Flava Radio, an online magazine and radio podcast, where she discussed the reasons for her passion in building awareness of the broken mental health system in Maryland and the U.S. through her book and speaking engagements. She has also appeared on the Roach Brown Show on WPFW in D.C. (89.3 FM, www.wpfwfm.org) to discuss the increasing and systemic problem of mass incarceration of the mentally ill Black male, as well as plausible solutions for this issue. She is soon to be a host of her own weekly radio podcast, “Blue Mind Funk.”
Sharon is a contributor to the Washington Post. She had a letter published in a January 12, 2020, Metro section that prompted a huge response among readers. She also received a mention in an article published on January 18, 2020, in the Editorial section, where Sharon was slated as being “The Voice for Us All.”
“I want to combine my life experiences to help raise awareness in mental wellness. I have spent my life in the pursuit of helping others see the radiance within them.” ~ Sharon Vollin, the Poetess
To contact Ms. Vollin, visit https://www.bluelotusillumination.com/, a website dedicated to being the voice of the seriously mentally ill.
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